When you build your pond create the right depth marginal pond plant shelves into your construction.
- Build the majority of planting shelf at 6 - 8" depth below finished water level. A smaller area of 12″ shelf and a base of 2’6″ (or 15 - 20cm, 30cm and 75cm).
- For a wildlife pond - create a beach or sloping area with cobbles and shallow loving plants coming off the 6" shelf.
- For a plant or a wildlife pond 2/3rds of the pond should be shelved at various depths with 1/3rd of the area being at the deepest level. This gives the right proportions of space for plant and wildlife use.
- A fish orientated pond would need more deep area of 3-4' (90-120cm) – 1/2 deep water and 1/2 shelved.
As a guide we recommend a minimum of 3 x 1 litre marginal aquatic baskets per metre length on a shelf, with more if the shelf is wider than 30cm(12″) or if a full look is required quickly.
Depth of marginal pond plant shelves is vital to marginal pond plants:
- too deep and some plant variety will not thrive,
- too shallow and some varieties will not receive the frost/ice protection over their crowns that they would receive from deeper water.
- On an exit slope or shallow shelf of up to 5″ deep.
- Plant with roots in water but with little or no water over their crowns.
- Will grow in wet mud in a muddy bog garden or on a stream edge with their crowns exposed above water level
- Grow in a floating pond basket.
- Your pond should contain a mix of both upright and rafting plants to create the habitats different wildlife will enjoy.
- Listed in the shelf pond plant pages as accepting up to 10cm(4″) of water over the top of the basket.
- A deeper shelf that will place the crown of the plant in deeper water throughout the winter where there is no risk of ice penetrating the pond.
- These plants are also on the Shelf Pond plant pages.
- Dwarf waterlilies also grow from this shelf as they do not thrive as deep as the more vigorous Pond waterlilies.
- free floating oxygenating plants - 2 portions of oxygenating plants should be added to a new pond per square metre of surface area
- surface cover plants like Pond waterlily and Water Hawthorn (Aponogeton distachyos) - cover 50% of your water surface area with plant growth to keep the water cool and shaded.
For more details read our Tips and Advice pages: How to dig an informal pond and Planting the pond shelves.